What a marvelous invention Facebook is. It finds people you always kind of liked but never got to know 30 years ago when you were both hanging out in an Off-Broadway theater. It tells you that, with a click, you can invite them to be your friend, giving you a second chance. And 30 years later, now that you’re both grown-ups and maybe smart enough, you can say, “Hey, I think you’re swell, I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you better a lifetime ago, how about lunch?”
Such was the case with Melodie Somers, an actress I knew in a former life, now a psychoanalytically trained relationship coach and half of the singing duo Somers & Steel. We “friended” Friday, and yesterday met at Niko’s Mediterranean Grill & Bistro on the Upper Westside, up the block from her office. Over soup and Greek something or other, we didn’t so much reminisce as we got to know each other. Thirty years ago, I was scared of everybody, but Melodie was an open, loving, fun spirit who invited me to write for a comedy show she was directing. Why I didn’t dive into a friendship is beyond me.
Three decades later, Melodie is still fun, easy-going, and apparently having a blast, singing more than 200 dates a year all over New Jersey. She and her partner, Don Adamczyk, make people happy — people in nursing homes, at weddings, anniversary and birthday parties, corporate functions, picnics, pool and holiday bashes, country clubs, night clubs, and fine dining establishments.
Melodie, whose email address is “talllady,” is statuesque and comfortable with it. She eats slowly as she tells me the genesis of her coaching practice. She was an acting teacher, and she found that her students needed more, so she enrolled in psychoanalytic training and has never stopped learning about why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do.
I silently marvel at her ethics. How many teachers would be well advised to do this, but instead mess with young actors’ emotions in a misguided attempt to get to something “real.”
We talk of our youthful hubris and disconnection, bike riding and helmets, and the wonder of a 110-year-old woman in a nursing home where Melodie recently sang. “What stories she must have,” exclaims Melodie, pondering a new creative project.
She gives me a couple of CDs — Somers & Steel’s Lost in the 60’s and 2010 Collection — great music for dancing around your living room in your underwear, not that I would do such a thing. Well, all right, maybe I would. Actually, I recommend it.
To get a hit of Melodie’s full-voiced love, or to dance in your own underwear, or to hire the duo for a place where people wear clothes, go to SomersAndSteel.com.